More than £6,000 in fines issued as first revellers appear in court following illegal Banwen rave

More than £6,000 in fines have been handed down to 11 people who travelled from across the country to attend an illegal rave in a South Wales community.

The four-day unlicensed music event, which had four stages and attracted between 3,000 and 4,000 people, was held in Banwen on August Bank Holiday weekend last year and was in breach of Coronavirus legislation.

At a special court hearing at Swansea Magistrates on Monday (January 11), the following each pleaded guilty to gathering outdoors with more than 30 people, contravening Welsh Government Coronavirus legislation:

  • Felix Blake, 28, of Easton, Bristol. He was fined £1,000, with a £100 victim surcharge and £85 costs;
  • Luke Horwood, 18, of Ayelsbury – £200 fine, £85 costs, £34 victim surcharge;
  • Zoe Malins 32, of  Newquay, Ceredigion –  £500 fine, £50 victim surcharge, £85 costs;
  • Dean Horwood, 37, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire – £600, £85 costs, £60 victim surcharge;
  • George Baggaley, 23, of Alton, Hampshire – £500 fine, £50 victim surcharge, £85 costs;
  • James Anderson, 30, of Ebbw Vale – £1,000 fine, £60 victim surcharge, £85 costs;
  • Oliver Preece, 25, of Ebbw Vale –  £600 fine, £60 victim surcharge, £85 costs;
  • Rhys Cox, 26, of Didcot, Oxfordshire – £1,050 fine, £100 victim surcharge, £85 costs;
  • Julian Hammond, 24, of Bedford – £1,000, £100 victim surcharge, £85 costs. Hammond also pleaded guilty to a second charge under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, of failing to leave the land when requested. No separate penalty was imposed.
  • Jordan Venus, 25, Brislington, Bristol – £600 fine, £85 costs, £60 victim surcharge. The court also extended an existing 12-month suspended sentence by a further six months, after Venus admitted attending the rave while subject to the court order.

Sentencing each of the defendants individually, District Judge Chris James told them their actions in travelling to the event during a global pandemic, when clear restrictions were in place and “our public health services were bending under the strain”, was “wholly and utterly socially irresponsible”.

Addressing one defendant, the judge said: “The regulations were designed to prevent the spread of a serious virus, one that’s affected our nation and indeed the world. They were designed to protect the public. [Attending the rave] was a flagrant disregard to not only the regulations but to your own social responsibility.”

The defendants were told their individual actions contributed to the significant harm caused to the residents of Banwen. The court heard they were unable to sleep due to the amplified music, and were witness to antisocial behaviour including abusive and intimidating behaviour and litter, faeces and drug paraphernalia left in the streets.

The cases against 10 people who failed to attend were adjourned until January 29th. All face the same charge of gathering outdoors in Wales with more than 30 people, contrary to Welsh Government Coronavirus legislation.

A 36-year-old man will also appear on that date, to face a charge of being involved in organising the unlicensed music event.

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